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The first to leave

Magan Ratliff, one of the four "Ratliff Quads" -- quadruplets born a minute apart from each other in May 1986 -- will get married on Saturday. She is the first of the four to tie the knot.
Magan Ratliff, one of the four "Ratliff Quads" -- quadruplets born a minute apart from each other in May 1986 -- will get married on Saturday. She is the first of the four to tie the knot.

Nobody thought Magan would be first Ratliff to take the plunge.

"Josh," said Daniel. "He was serious with a girl even in high school."

"Joshua," chimed in Magan, along with her mother, Tiana Gardner.

"Definitely one of the boys to get married first, probably Josh," said Sara.

"I figured one of my sons would go first," said Barry Ratliff, the father. "Probably Josh."

"Me," said Josh.

But no.

Magan Ratliff, 21, one of the Ratliff quadruplets -- born a minute apart from each other in May 1986 -- Saturday becomes Magan Ratliff Hinson.

The mom who somehow changed four sets of diapers at the same time, then somehow dealt with four sets of teen needs, is happy and a little bit misty-eyed, as probably all mothers are when their first child ties the knot.

"I always figured that Magan would be the last to leave her mommy, and here she is now the first," Gardner said.

The lives of the Ratliff quads have been public more than most. Strangers knew from stories in The Herald that Sara came first, then Daniel, then Magan, then Joshua.

The Ratliff quads were on TV programs that had national exposure. There were stories and pictures of them at Christmas, at a pre-school eye exam, the first day of school, turning 16, graduating in the same class three years ago at Rock Hill High School.

"People definitely knew me as one of the Ratliff quads," Magan said.

Quadruplets are rare. Although fertility drugs can increase the chances of multiples, like with this family, experts say spontaneous quadruplets happen in about 1 of every 750,000 births. Birth statistics from the state health department in 1986 showed the Ratliff quads were the first recorded quadruplet birth in York County.

Because the kids were always together in the same grade at the same school, identities were tough to forge until after high school. But since then, each has found a unique path. Sara is a student at Winthrop University. Joshua and Daniel both have jobs. Magan graduated from York Technical College and works.

All four still live at home with their mother and stepfather, Todd Gardner. Until Saturday, when Magan moves out after marrying Michael Hinson from McConnells.

The other Ratliff quads expect to get married someday, but nothing is set. Gardner always knew that four weddings on one day was never an option.

"Way too much," Gardner said.

Sara helped her sister and mother plan the wedding and expects Magan to do the same.

"She better," Sara joked.

Both Barry Ratliff and Todd Gardner will walk Magan down the aisle.

"It's my first one to get married, one of the girls at that, so I am kind of excited and sad at the same time," Barry Ratliff said.

Joshua and Daniel are groomsmen. And there next to her sister will be Sara, the maid of honor.

"Never any question about it," Magan said.

"She will be my maid of honor when I get married," Sara said.

And the other great part for Sara after Saturday night?

For the first time in her life, she gets her own room.

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